Sunday, April 27, 2008

Let Er Rip






















On draft day, the Raiders were given the choice of 2 distinct paths. The fork in the road came as soon as the Falcons turned in their draft card to select QB Matt Ryan. One path, Glenn Dorsey Road, was to add a cog to our run D which was considered "safe, sensible, solid" by many arm chair GMs like myself. The other path, Darren McFadden Avenue, was to select a dynamic playmaker that would add a whole new dimension to the Raiders offense. As you know by now, the Raiders swung for the fences with the 1st round selection of Darren McFadden aka Run DMc.

A new day and exciting era in Raider football is upon us. The big play running threat of Run DMc coupled with a franchise QB in JaMarcus Russell who can stretch the field vertically gives the Raiders offense in 2008 the capabilities to be highly explosive, balanced, and diversified.

Darren McFadden had an amazing 3 year career at Arkansas where he compiled 4,485 rushing yards (5.9 average per carry) and scored 40 touchdowns in 37 games played. Here are the notes from McFadden's scouting report:













Darren McFadden Height: 6-1 1/4 Weight: 211 40-Time: 4.33

Strengths:
An outstanding natural athlete...Has very good size...Excellent timed speed with a burst...Has great vision and instincts...Big play threat who can take it the distance at any time..Elusive with nice feet..Quick and agile...Real strong...Tough and loves contact...Runs hard and does not go down easy...Has decent hands and can be a weapon in the passing game..Plays with a nasty demeanor..Extremely productive.

Weaknesses:
Has some off-the-field and character questions...Legs and lower body are a little thin....Might run too high and open himself up to big hits...Could still improve as a blocker...Does not have a ton of experience as a receiver...Did not really play in a conventional offense in college and shared the workload...Ball security is an issue.

Notes:
Burst onto the scene as a true freshman...The Heisman Trophy runner-up as both a sophomore and a junior...In the summer of '06 he dislocated his toe (which later required surgery) while trying to kick someone during a fight outside a night club at 4am...In January of 2008 was handcuffed during a disturbance outside of a bar shortly after midnight because according to the police report he was agitated and provoking aggressive behavior inciting the incident....Often worked as a shotgun quarterback in the Razorbacks "Wildcat" package and showed the ability to throw the ball...Pure football player with all the physical tools who is as good or perhaps an even better prospect than Adrian Peterson was coming out...A rare talent who should rank amongst the top running backs in the NFL very early in his pro career.

It is thrilling to realize that JaMarcus Russell has all of the tools and weapons at his disposal to be very successful. In the passing attack, Javon Walker and Drew Carter are both athletic, fast, big receivers. Ronald Curry is an excellent possession receiver. TE Zach Miller should be able to build upon his productive rookie season (44 receptions) and provide a nice security blanket for Russell. In the backfield, we now have an electric, home run hitter in Run DMc in combination with the tough, hard charging Justin Fargas. Dominic Rhodes can be utilized in some special offensive packages. What role, if any, Michael Bush plays in 2008 is unknown. Bush could be used possibly in some red zone packages as well as short yardage plays. Lamont Jordan will be cut on June 1st.

Although RB wasn't a "need" pick for the Raiders, I understand how a special player of McFadden's caliber should not be passed over. When you review the Raiders offense of 2007, it becomes quite clear that one of the missing components was a big play, game changing element.

2007 Offense Scoring
28 TDS (11 rushing TDs #19 ranking; 17 receiving TDs #24)
17.7 pts/g #23 ranking

With McFadden in the backfield, the Raiders opponents will need to be on their guard to contain our rushing attack. If the opponent's D sticks 8 men in the box and the rush ends aren't pinning their ears back to rush the passer, it clearly will open up the passing game. Give me play action pass with Walker/Carter in single coverage and Russell pulling the trigger and I will love our chances to have an explosive, unpredictable offense. Let er rip!

3 Comments:

Anonymous The Raider said...

I can see Coach Rathman and Millard using 3 or the 6 RBs in every game. The NFL has finally made it's full transition, as a young league.

With all the new weapons on O, I can see Coach Kiffin having endless options to create for that first game at home on Monday Night.
I hope Jevon has a huge game and helps the staff exploit any weakness Denver has. You know Coach Lofton will help us use D Mac beat the Chargers, in the passing game.

It was always Kiffin's plan to get D Mac, no matter what. Kiffin did a great job putting up a smoke-screen about possibly taking D Mac. I love how Lane has taken on the media. The media loves to smear The Raider image, especially if it makes Mr. Davis seem crazy and Kiffin look clueless. Well, I guess they all can eat their words and choke on them, because after reading all around the web tonight ... It is obvious that Lane and Al have been working as a unit and both were on the same page during the combine and during the draft process.

I admit, I wanted Chris or Vernon badly, but when looking at the history of the draft... It would of been crazy to pass up on a kid this fast, strong and big. Yes, both lines have one or two question marks, but look at all the close games The Raiders lost. With three or more dependable receivers, two or more dependable tight ends and 6 running backs competing to play...The team has the options it never had in recent years.

Mr.Davis has proved he can bring in proven talent through the free agent market, I just hope he can do it again by finding one more guard or tackle before July. I keep hearing Newberry is very excited to play with the team again, but he is still un-signed. If The Raiders can just sign Newbs and another big vet to one year contracts, I'd feel a lot better going into Camp. I hope Harris and Wade prove to be great signings, but there are a lot of guards and centers that all can play next year.
I believe O-line depth is important for J-Roc's first full year. The Raider's have shown they can zone block well and can protect the QB better than before, but when your O-Line isn't studded like MN or NY, you need depth.

I blabbed a lot about this, instead of the biggest need (DT or DE) because I know someone can step up, until Mr.Davis signs that big D-Lineman we all know would complete the deadly D we crave.
I also blabbed on because The team did pick the best player in the whole draft two years in a row and .... now .... it's time to score a lot more and Just Win Baby!

CJ-Out of all the receivers on the board, Do you think Shields and Schilens have greater apeal?
All the picks come from schools that are barely considered D-1 and are not totally safe positions we need. I guess after picking D Mac, it became all about loading up special teams.

1:54 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

the raider said, "CJ-Out of all the receivers on the board, Do you think Shields and Schilens have greater apeal?
All the picks come from schools that are barely considered D-1 and are not totally safe positions we need."
actually, jerry rice and t.o. came from a school that was barely considered d-1. i don't think it is the school that makes them great or not, it is the factor of ability, and translating that ability in the big time. the thing that everyone gives davis credit for is his ability to pick players with speed, because speed and soft hands will get you far in this league.
i still feel that mcfadden has to prove it to me. i'm not trying to put a damper on the pick, or say that there was a better one (there would have been if we had skipped over SoH). but what i am saying is that he has to prove to me that he is the real deal because of his arkansas counter-part, felix jones.
the concern is everyone compares him to reggie bush; and look what he's done in the league so far. but to rt's point, he does help give our offense an identity; and gives us a potentially dangerous backfield with bush and fargas.
but we still have major question marks all over our offense with "unprovens", and with "ability" limitation questions due to injuries. this will go either really good, or it will blow up in our faces. the way things have gone for us the last 5 years, i'm concerned; but at least we won't go down without fighting; unlike the jets, cardinals, 49ers, titans, chiefs, and falcons.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CJ,

Glad to see you are excted.

I watch a ton of SEC games. It is the best conference by far (and that is coming fom a UofMiami alumn so I am not biased). The SEC has the fastest defenses. D-Mac has the potential to be an absoulte superstar. I do not think that is the case with Chris Long or any other player in the top six.

Regards
Florida Raider

2:08 PM  

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